After all our adventures, we arrived to San Francisco in a very relaxed mood, to enjoy our last vacation days. The first impression was that of a very interesting city, with its hills, its cable cars, its Victorian houses and of course the Golden Gate. It reminded us of Lisbon, these are cities with much in common.
After similarities, we also felt many differences: Lisbon can be defined as traditional and historic, whereas San Francisco felt alternative, modern, liberal, hippie… New ideas were born here, usually against the “status quo” and progressive. This was the place were ecology, pacifism, gay rights were first defended (and still are), San Francisco is known for its ideals and activism.
It is also known for its quite fresh climate, especially the fog, and we did have a taste of it. It was useful so we could finally use our jackets J The city invites to walks with no defined itineraries, up hill, down hill… It’s quite good to strengthen muscle legs (always look at the good side…). Views from up the hills are wonderful, and the piers by the sea – as the famous Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf, among others – are really pleasant.
Chinatown is a very interesting and vibrant area, where we can feel that this city is a melting pot of cultures and gastronomy – dinner in an excellent Chinese restaurant was greatly appreciated by all, as was Italian on the next day…
We visited Wells Fargo where original stage coaches are on exhibition – these were the first to make the coast to coast journey, to carry mail and passengers. It was ultra-fast at the time (!!!) as it took 26 days (day and night, no stops) to get from San Francisco to Saint Louis, with 9 passengers in the cabin, and they were frequently robbed… And we complain about lack of space and comfort in airplanes nowadays…
We also got to see the fireworks on the 4th of July, very nice.
We also went for a day trip to the beautiful coast – Big Sur, and we visited Año Nuevo State Park, where numerous elephant seals can be seen on the beach. We were lucky to see many of them molting, and males fighting each other in preparation for the mating season. It was a very interesting and informative visit, we were lucky to find a biologist who gave us lots of information about these extraordinary animals, who spend most of their lives at sea, and come to these beaches to molt, mate and give birth. The only problem for us (Europeans) is that it takes us some time to process the information. For example, our nice biologist explained that a pup usually grows from approximately 75 pounds at birth to 250-350 pounds in less than a month… there we go to our mobile, and then we can react and show surprise (because it means that the pup grows from 34 kg to 160 kg in a month, which is amazing!) . An adult male can be from fourteen to sixteen feet long and weigh up to 6000 pounds… silence, here we go to our app again, and there comes our delayed reaction (4 to 5 meters and 2 and a half tons!!!). this looks like a movie where sound and image aren’t synchronized J Anyway, if you want to know more about these animal, you can find more information here.
And after these fantastic holidays, time to go back home arrived… It felt good to come back and to start dreaming about next destinations! 🙂
This was a memorable trip, where we had the chance to visit great cities, and the privilege to admire great natural wonders that can only be seen here… We had a great time as a family, and these special memories will last, because for us that’s the real value and meaning of travelling together. We hope we were able to share this magic with you along these posts, and maybe inspired you to travel too, either far away or close, or just through our narratives, because to travel is to dream, and to dream is to travel…